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SGU/WINDREF mourns Lawson Soulsby, Lord Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, First Chairman of WINDREF UK and the Third President of WINDREF

Lft. to rt. back row: Dean Allen Pensick, Dr. Keith Taylor, Dean Margaret Lambert, Sir Kenneth Stuart, Baroness Howells of St. David, Mr. Trevor Noel

Lft. to rt. front row: Lord Soulsby, (Recipient of the 2006 Mike Fisher Memorial Award), Lady Soulsby, Hon. Ann David-Antoine, (Minister of Health), Dr. Eric Ottesen, (7th WINDREF Lecturer), Dean Calum Macpherson
Lft. to rt. back row: Dean Allen Pensick, Dr. Keith Taylor, Dean Margaret Lambert, Sir Kenneth Stuart, Baroness Howells of St. David, Mr. Trevor Noel
Lft. to rt. front row: Lord Soulsby, (Recipient of the 2006 Mike Fisher Memorial Award), Lady Soulsby, Hon. Ann David-Antoine, (Minister of Health), Dr. Eric Ottesen, (7th WINDREF Lecturer), Dean Calum Macpherson

Lord Soulsby of Swaffham Prior

23rd June 1926 – 8th May 2017

Ernest Jackson Lawson Soulsby, Baron Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, sadly passed away at his home in Swaffham Prior on Monday 8th May 2017. During his remarkable career he made enormous contributions through his teaching, inspiring leadership and scholarly contributions to many fields including veterinary and human medicine, global public health, parasitology, immunology, zoonoses and One Health. Lawson graduated from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Medicine in Edinburgh, Scotland, completing his MRCVS in 1948 and DVSM in 1949. He was appointed Lecturer in Clinical Parasitology at the University of Bristol (1952-1954) then moved to the University of Cambridge (1954-1963) and then spent 15 years as Head of the Department of Pathobiology at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA. He returned to the University of Cambridge (1978-1993) as Professor of Animal Pathology, and was Dean of the veterinary faculty (1978-1992). He served as president of many societies, institutions and foundations and became the first veterinarian to serve as president of the Royal Society of Medicine (1998-2000) and the Royal institute of Public Health. He also served as President of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (1984-1985). His research interests included the immunology of parasitic infections, the parasitic zoonoses and livestock development and research in developing countries. He was created a life peer in 1990 as Baron Soulsby of Swaffham Prior until his retirement at the end of 2015. He served as veterinary surgeon to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Lord Soulsby was advisor and consultant to many national and international organisations and governments. In the House of Lords he had been a member of the Select Committee on Science and Technology for several years and Chaired enquiries on antibiotic resistance and fighting infection. Lord Soulsby published 14 books and over 200 scientific papers in peer reviewed journals and received many honours and awards including a number of honorary DSc degrees in recognition of his contribution to veterinary medicine. In 2015 the RCVS awarded him the Queen’s Medal, their highest award for services to veterinary medicine. His global experience provided an incredible resource for international agencies and he served as an advisor and consultant to WHO, FAO, PAHO, UNDP, NATO, DFID and to numerous governments and universities. Lord Soulsby has been a Member founder of a number of Parasitological Societies including the World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology (WAAVP) which has made important contributions to the field of veterinary parasitology. Lord Soulsby mentored more than 40 graduate students, most of them PhD’s who in turn led their own impressive careers and mentored their own graduate students, who have gone on to mentor further graduate students. Lord Soulsby has left an incredible legacy in many fields in One Health, and his presence and contributions will be missed by countless thousands who he met, and the tens of thousands who have used his many textbooks, edited volumes and publications. Perhaps the most widely read was his text book “Helminths, Arthropods and Protozoa of Domestic Animals” which when it was published originally in 1968 provided veterinary, medical, parasitology and public health students throughout the world with a single tome covering parasites from across the globe. This remarkable book was reprinted many times and translated into more than 20 languages and has been used as an important reference in almost all the Schools of Veterinary Medicine throughout the world. His beautifully crafted writings and thoughtful editing continued until his last publication with Sir Kenneth Stuart entitled “Reducing Global Health Inequalities” published by the Journal of The Royal Society of Medicine in 2011 and also in the same year the 2nd edition of “The Oxford Textbook of Zoonoses” of which he was one of the four editors. His considerable scholarly output provides a lasting legacy.

Lord Soulsby was a founding member of the Board of Trustees of WINDREF (UK) and succeeded Lord Walton as the second Chairman of the Board in 2002. He became its second President in 2007, succeeding Keith B. Taylor and remained its President until the end of 2013 when he was succeeded by WINDREF’S current President Baroness Howells of St David. In 1999 he gave the inaugural address at the School of Veterinary Medicine white coat ceremony. He made many visits to Grenada and gave the WINDREF lecture in 2004, entitled: “Zoonoses: old and new… the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” He was the inspiration for the creation of the Mike Fisher Memorial award, and for his numerous contributions to the field of One Health, became the first recipient of this award in 2006. Lawson was loved by all he met and always excellent company given his encyclopaedic memory of people, places and events and his brilliant mind, tremendous sense of humour and inclusiveness.